City records indicate that some 68, people died during the epidemicthough the actual number of deaths is suspected to have exceededout of a total population estimated atThe outbreak was caused by Yersinia pestis, the bacterium associated with other plague outbreaks before and since the Great Plague of London. The Great Plague was not an isolated event—40, Londoners had died of the plague in —but it was the last and worst of the epidemics. An outbreak was suspected in the winter ofbut it did not spread intensely until the spring of
Source 3b Background There are three types of plague.
Most of the sick in had bubonic plague. This created swellings buboes in the lymph nodes found in the armpits, groin and neck. Plague sufferers experienced headaches, vomiting and fever.
This type of plague spread from a bite caused by a black rat flea that carried the Yersinia pestis bacteria. Worse still was pneumonic plague, which attacked the lungs and spread to other people through coughing and sneezing, and septicaemic plague, which occurred when the bacteria entered the blood.
In these cases, there was little hope of survival. Treatments and prevention at the time did not help. Sometimes, patients were bled with leeches. People thought impure air caused the disease and could be cleansed by smoke and heat.
Children were encouraged to smoke to ward off bad air.
Sniffing a sponge soaked in vinegar was also an option. As the colder weather set in, the number of plague victims started to fall.
This was not due to any remedies used. Nor was it due to the fire of London that had destroyed many of the houses within the walls of the city and by the River Thames. Many plague deaths had occurred in the poorest parishes outside the city walls.
Some scientists suggest that the black rat had started to develop a greater resistance to the disease. If the rats did not die, their fleas would not need to find a human host and fewer people would be infected.
Probably, people started to develop a stronger immunity to the disease. Also, in plague scares aftermore effective quarantine methods were used for ships coming into the country. There was never an outbreak of plague in Britain on this scale again.
The lesson considers the measures taken by King Charles II in response to the plague and the reactions of some of the people to these restrictions, as well as providing contemporary comment on the situation. Sources The questions encourage pupils to investigate the sources and make their own judgements on the evidence where possible.
It might also encourage pupils to think about law and order in a wider historical context.
For example, after the experience of English Civil War, people were probably more accepting of authority. More activities Pupils could attempt a piece of extended writing on the great plague of London using evidence from the lesson, plus this extract and others from the Diary of Samuel Pepys: And they tell me that in Westminster there is never a physitian, and but one apothecary left, all being dead — but that there are great hopes of a great decrease this week.
Pupils could create their own role play or drama set at the time using these sources.In the spring and summer of an outbreak of Bubonic Plague spread from parish to parish until thousands had died and the huge pits dug to receive the bodies were full.
In the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the centre of London, but also helped to kill off some of the black rats and fleas that carried the plague bacillus. frightened of the plague because its victims died so quickly and very few recovered. The worst bout of plague was in , when 24% (nearly a quarter) of London’s population died.
Plague bell, s Other London plague outbreaks The Black Death, – In the first regulations to stop plague were introduced in London. The –66 epidemic was on a far smaller scale than the earlier Black Death pandemic; it was remembered afterwards as the "great" plague mainly because it was the last widespread outbreak of bubonic plague in England during the year timespan of the Second Pandemic.
The Great Plague in London of Although people proposed a variety of causes for the great plague in London of , the effects of the plague were certainly catastrophic. Europe experienced many outbreaks of plague prior to the year of The Great Plague of London in was the last in a long series of plague epidemics that first began in London in June The Great Plague killed between 75, and , of London’s rapidly expanding population of about , However in the bubonic plague once more swept through London, causing a huge amount of fatalities and stretching the resources of the local parishes to the maximum.
This contagion, known as the Great Plague, started in the densely packed streets St Giles-in-the-Field and at first its spread was slow.